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The student financial assistance program at Columbia State Community College is designed to aid students who find it difficult or impossible to attend college without financial assistance. Columbia State offers a comprehensive program of financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and part-time work. Major emphasis is placed upon financial need and academic achievement.
To determine financial need, the College utilizes the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which takes into consideration certain factors related to the family status. Although the College endeavors to assist all qualified students as resources permit, this assistance should be viewed only as supplementary to the efforts of the student and student’s family.
Regulations and funding for institutional-, state-, and federally-supported programs are subject to change. Columbia State reserves the right to administer the programs accordingly.
Financial aid applications and forms are available on the Web at www.columbiastate.edu, in the Financial Aid office on the Columbia campus or in the administrative office at any of the College’s campus locations.
The College participates in the financial aid programs offered through the Department of Education. They include:
- Federal Pell Grant (PELL)
- Academic Competitive Grant (ACG)
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Federal Work-Study (FWS)
- Federal Stafford Loans (FSL)
- Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Title IV programs are need-based. Financial need is calculated by a formula based on nationally determined standards. The following formula is a simplified explanation of financial need:
Educational Costs - Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need
Educational costs consists of school tuition and fees; books and supplies; room and board; transportation, personal and other school related expenses. The expected family contribution is what the student/spouse or student/parents should be able to contribute toward educational costs. The costs in this formula are determined by each school, and the expected family contribution is determined by standard calculations based on information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A student may require additional money to attend school, but not have financial need as defined by the federal government.
Need analysis is determined by the U.S. Department of Education by using information provided on the FAFSA. The FAFSA is used to determine student eligibility for federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs. The FAFSA may be filed after January 1 each year and at the very latest, must be received by June 30 of the following year.
Note: Students who already have a baccalaureate degree are not eligible to receive PELL, ACG, FSEOG or FWS at Columbia State Community College.
To apply for federal financial aid, a student must:
- Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov using Columbia State’s school code (003483) after January 1 of each year.
- The FAFSA must be completed by April 15 to be considered for priority aid and processing at Columbia State.
- Applications for Federal College Work Study and Federal Stafford Loans can be obtained from the Columbia State financial aid Web site or in the Financial Aid office.
To be eligible for federal student aid, a student must meet all of the following criteria:
- Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED).
- Have a valid Social Security number.
- Have financial need.
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Be enrolled at an eligible institution, and in a program that leads to a degree or certificate (degree-seeking).
- Be registered with Selective Service, if required.
- Must certify that you will use federal financial aid only for educational purposes.
- Must not be in default on a federal student loan or must not owe money on a federal grant.
- Make satisfactory academic progress.
Federally Funded Financial Aid Programs
Federal Pell Grants - These funds provide financial assistance to eligible students who are pursuing an Associate’s degree or certificate. The Federal Pell Grant is awarded based on financial need and eligibility is determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on the information provided on the FAFSA. If the student is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant it will be included on the Award Notification. Your financial aid award is based on full-time enrollment. If your enrollment changes your award may be revised or cancelled. For less than full-time enrolled students, the Federal Pell Grant is prorated as follows:
||(12 or more)
|Less than Half-Time
Please note: Financial aid is not available for short term certificates (less than 24 credit hours).
Academic Competitive Grant (ACG) - These funds are made available to students who qualify and are in an eligible program that leads to an Associate’s degree. Eligibility is determined by the Department of Education by evaluating the information provided on the FAFSA. These grants are awarded based on financial need.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant - Funds may be given to undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid office based on financial need and available funds. FAFSA’S received by April 15 will be given priority.
Federal College Work Study - This program provides part-time employment for eligible students. Depending upon eligibility, students may work a maximum of fifteen hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. A limited number of jobs are available during the summer. To be eligible for a part-time job, a student must have a completed FAFSA on file, have financial need, and be in good academic standing. Students are paid an hourly rate (determined each award year). Federal work-study payroll is processed monthly. Timesheets are due in the Financial Aid office by the 15th of each month. Funds will be directly deposited into your bank account on the last working day of each month. Applications are available in the Financial Aid office or by going to the Columbia State financial aid Web site. All college work-study students are expected to work in accordance with the schedule set by their supervisor. Failure to do so or perform suitable work will result in loss of employment.
Columbia State Community College participates in the Federal Stafford and Parent Plus Loan Programs.
Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized) - Available to students who demonstrate financial need. Eligible students can borrow a subsidized Stafford Loan to cover some or all of their educational needs. For the subsidized loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest, while the student is in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a “grace period”), and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payment). The amount of the subsidized loan cannot exceed the student’s financial need.
Federal Stafford Loan (Unsubsidized) - Does not require students to demonstrate financial need. The U.S. Department of Education does not pay interest on unsubsidized loans. The financial aid department will determine the amount of your unsubsidized loan based on your cost of attendance minus other financial assistance. For an unsubsidized loan the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.
Depending on the student’s financial need, they may receive both the subsidized and unsubsidized loans for the same enrollment period, but the total amount of these loans may not exceed the annual loan limit.
Federal Stafford student loans are disbursed in 2 equal payments and sent directly to Columbia State. First-time Freshman Borrowers will have their first disbursement delayed 30 days after the first day of classes due to federal regulations. The school will verify that you are still enrolled at least half-time (6 hrs.), attending your classes and making satisfactory academic progress at the time of disbursement. The school will send you a notification once your loan proceeds are received.
Annual Loan Limits
|Year in School
||Maximum Subsidized Amount
||Maximum Unsubsidized Amount
||Maximum Subsidized Amount
||Maximum Total Amount
|Freshman (0-29 collegiate hours)
|Sophomore (30+ collegiate hours)
Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) - These loans are available to parents of dependent students regardless of income level if the parents have no adverse credit history. The annual loan limits are based on the cost of attendance minus other financial assistance. The loan will be made co-payable to the school and parents and repayment begins sixty (60) days after the disbursement by the lender.
How to Apply
Columbia State Community College does not automatically package loans. In order to apply for a Federal Stafford Loan (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized) you will need to:
- Complete a Columbia State Loan Request form.
- First-time borrowers to Columbia State must:
- Complete loan entrance counseling.
- Complete Master Promissory Note.
To apply for a Parent Plus Loan:
- Parent will need to complete a Columbia State Plus Loan Request form.
- Apply with the lender of their choice.
- Have approval or denial letter from the lender sent to the Financial Aid office.
Priority processing for fall loans is mid May and for a spring loan mid November.
In order to be eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) students must:
- Have a completed FAFSA on file with Columbia State.
- Be enrolled in at least six credit hours.
- Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Completed Entrance Counseling.
- Have electronically signed their Master Promissory Note.
- Return Columbia State Student Loan Request to the Financial Aid office.
In order to be eligible for a Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) the student/parent must:
- Student must have a completed FAFSA on file with Columbia State.
- Be enrolled in at least six credit hours.
- Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Return Columbia State Parent Plus Loan application to the Financial Aid office.
- Parent must have filed a Plus Loan application with their lender.
- Have approval or denial letter from the lender sent to the Financial Aid office.
Delivery of Loan Proceeds
Lenders are required to disburse all loan proceeds in at least two payments to the school. The school will verify that the student is still enrolled at least half-time (6 hours) and making Satisfactory Academic Progress before funds are released. Columbia State Community College participates in the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to expedite delivery of loan money. Disbursement dates will be posted on the financial aid Web site.
If a student or parent wishes to cancel their loan and return the funds to the lender, the student or parent must notify the Financial Aid office in writing within 14 days of the date the funds are received. Please note that NO loan funds are available for delivery prior to the first day of classes for any semester.
VETERANS INFORMATION AND SERVICES
Columbia state cooperates with the Veterans Administration in providing educational opportunities for veterans and eligible persons desiring to attend Columbia State under appropriate federal legislation. Students receiving VA education benefits are required to meet the same standard of progress as all other students of the College. Veterans should also be aware of the following additional responsibilities:
- All veterans are required to complete a Columbia State Veteran’s Request for Certification each semester of attendance. Failure to do so will result in your enrollment not being certified for payment. Certification forms are available in the Financial Aid office or on the financial aid Web site.
- Federal regulations require a student to be seeking a degree/certificate in order to be eligible for veteran’s benefits. Students may only take classes that apply to the degree/certificate they are currently seeking at Columbia State. Any other classes taken will not be certified for payment. Please refer to the degree and certificate requirements listed in the catalog for information on eligible classes for your program.
- You must notify the VA certifying official if you add or drop a course, change your degree program, change your address, or withdraw from classes.
- The VA will not pay for the repeat of satisfactorily completed courses.
- If you do not make satisfactory academic progress, you may be placed on probation or suspension from veteran’s benefits.
- The VA requires Columbia State to give prior credit for any previous education you may have received. Official academic transcripts from each previous college you have attended must be on file in the Columbia State Records office. Veteran’s benefits can be certified for only one semester without official academic transcripts being on file. Any subsequent semesters of attendance will not be certified for payment until the required academic transcripts have been received and evaluated by the Records office.
- Veterans may complete a Student Veteran/Certain Veteran’s Dependent Tuition & Fees Payment Deferment request to defer tuition and fees at Columbia State. These forms are available in the Financial Aid office or by contacting the VA certifying official.
The Financial Aid office will assist eligible individuals in the completion of necessary forms, program planning, and in making appropriate certifications to the Veterans Administration. Columbia State does not participate in advance payment of tuition for veterans.
Servicemembers, veterans, and dependents of veterans who are eligible beneficiaries of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits or other governmentally funded educational assistance, subject to the conditions and guidelines set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated 49-7-104 as amended, may elect, upon formal application, to defer payment of required tuition and fees until the final day of their term for which the deferment has been requested. Application for the deferment must be made no later than 14 days prior to the beginning of the term, and the amount of the deferment shall not exceed the total monetary benefits to be received for the term. Students who have been granted deferments are expected to make timely payments on their outstanding tuition and fees balance once education benefits are being delivered, and eligibility for such deferment shall terminate if the student fails to abide by an applicable rule or regulation, or to act in good faith in making timely payments. This notice is published pursuant to Public Chapter 279, Acts of 2003, effective July 1, 2003.
Questions regarding your entitlement, eligibility, or payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs should be directed to 1-888-442-4551. Information regarding the Veterans Benefits Administration or the GI Bill is available at www.vba.va.gov or www.gibill.va.gov.
For more information on VA benefits, contact Cindy Runnels at (931) 540-2543, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jones Student Center, room 113.
OTHER ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Other financial assistance for students may be available through programs with:
- Workforce Development
- Vocational Rehabilitation
Contact the Financial Aid office for information regarding these programs.
Satisfactory Progress Standards for Federal Financial Assistance
- Semester Progress (Grade Point Average): A minimum academic average of 2.0 is required at the end of each semester. Satisfactory Grades include A, B, C, D, or Pass. Unsatisfactory Grades include PR, I, F, W, WD, Audit, Dropped, Non-Credit, or No-Pass.
- Semester Progress (Hours Passed): The minimum number of hours each recipient must pass during the academic semester is listed below:
||12 or more
|Less than Half-Time
- Cumulative Progress (Time Limit):
- Degree Program - Financial assistance is available until a student graduates with a degree or for a maximum of 90 attempted semester hours.
- Certificate Program - Financial assistance is available until a student completes the eligible program or for 150% of the required program hours.
Hours attempted for developmental studies courses are not considered in these time limits.
If a student is required to take developmental studies coursework, he/she can receive federal assistance for up to 30 hours of coursework. Eligibility beyond 30 hours attempted will be based on college-level courses only.
Transfer students will be governed by the same rules as other students in regard to satisfactory completion of courses. Transferable hours attained at previous institutions will be counted in regard to the maximum allowable time frame for graduation.
Probation, Suspension and Appeals Process
Financial Aid Probation
First time students whose cumulative GPA is less than the required minimum 2.0 GPA and/or fails to complete 67 percent of the total hours attempted, will be placed on financial aid probation. Probation still allows the student to receive financial aid. If the student fails to meet satisfactory academic progress at the end of their probation term, they will be placed on financial aid suspension.
Financial Aid Suspension
Students whose cumulative GPA is less than the required minimum GPA for the number of hours attempted and/or who have failed to complete 67 percent of the total hours attempted at the end of their probation term will be suspended from receiving financial aid benefits. Once a student has completed necessary coursework at their own expense and achieved good academic standing, they may reapply for financial assistance.
Students receiving unsatisfactory grades in all classes will be placed on suspension without a probation period and will be required to file a financial aid appeal.
Students whose cumulative attempted hours exceed the maximum time frame will be suspended from receiving financial aid benefits. Students who have already graduated with a certificate or degree and are planning on pursuing an additional degree and use financial aid benefits must notify the Financial Aid office prior to enrolling each semester in order to receive any financial aid benefits.
Financial Aid Appeals Process
Students may appeal the denial of financial assistance by written request to the director of financial aid. Students should explain any mitigating circumstances concerning their failure to achieve the minimum GPA or why they failed to complete 67 percent of their coursework. In order for an appeal to be considered, documentation of circumstances must be attached to the appeal (i.e. medical, work, transportation, legal, etc.).
Students who are suspended because of maximum time frame or previous degree must file an appeal in accordance with the over maximum time frame notification.
The Financial Aid Committee will review each appeal and provide a written response of approval or denial. Students must file appeals by published deadlines (dates are published on the financial aid Web site). No appeals will be considered after the last day of registration as published in the course schedule. If the committee denies a student’s appeal, they will need to pay on their own until they regain eligibility. The decision of the committee is final.
Financial Aid Attendance Policy
As recipients of Title IV aid (Federal Pell Grants, Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Parent Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, State Grants, or Federal Work-Study), students are required to attend class.
The Financial Aid office monitors class attendance. Students not attending class may no longer be eligible to receive Federal Assistance. They may also be billed for any funds they have received.
Students who find it necessary to stop attending class must complete the official withdrawal process (see “Dropping a Class” and “Withdrawal”).
Return of Title IV Funds Policy
Students who receive Title IV funds are required to earn these funds by attending classes through at least 60% of an enrollment term. Students who withdraw from all classes prior to completing 60% of an enrollment term will have their aid recalculated based on the percent of the term they completed. The Financial Aid office encourages you to read this policy carefully. If you are thinking about withdrawing from all classes PRIOR to completing 60% of the semester, please CONTACT the Financial Aid office to determine how your withdrawal will affect your financial aid and your possible repayment.
“Title IV Funds” refers to federal aid programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) and includes: Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Parent Loans to Undergraduate Students (PLUS), Federal Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
A student’s withdrawal date is
- The date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process (as described in Columbia State’s class schedule) or officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw, or
- The midpoint of the period for a student who stops attending all classes without notifying the institution, or
- The student’s last date of attendance at a documented academically-related activity.
Students may withdraw from all classes using self service.
Refunds on all institutional charges (tuition and fees) are calculated by using the refund policy published on the Institutional Fees and Refunds page (see “Institutional Refunds”). Refunds calculated by Columbia State as the result of students who drop classes but who do not totally withdraw from the institution will be refunded to the student.
The percentage of Title IV aid unearned to be returned to the appropriate program shall be 100% minus the percent earned. No program can receive a refund if the student did not receive aid from that program. Unearned aid shall be returned first by Columbia State from the student’s account to the appropriate programs in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Parent Loans to Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
- Federal Pell Grant
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- Federal SEOG
When the total amount of unearned aid is greater than the amount returned by Columbia State from the student’s account, the student is responsible for returning unearned aid to the appropriate program(s) as follows:
- Unsubsidized Stafford Loan*
- Subsidized Stafford Loan*
- Parent Loans to Undergraduate Students (PLUS)*
- Federal Pell Grant**
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- Federal SEOG**
*Loan amounts are returned by the student according to the terms of the promissory note.
**Amounts to be returned by the student to federal grant programs will be reduced by 50%. A student does not owe a repayment if the original grant overpayment is $50 or less.
The Financial Aid office will notify the student of the amount of repayment within 30 days of determining the student’s withdrawal. The student has 30 calendar days after notification to make a repayment in full or make satisfactory repayment arrangements with Columbia State’s Financial Aid office.
If the student does not repay the entire amount or make satisfactory repayment arrangements within the time allotted, any repayment owed will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education for collection. The student then has the opportunity to repay or make satisfactory repayment arrangements with the U.S. Department of Education. STUDENTS WHO HAVE NOT REPAID OR MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO REPAY WILL BE INELIGIBLE FOR TITLE IV AID AT ANY COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY.
Note: Students are responsible for making any federal grant repayments. THEY MUST ALSO REPAY COLUMBIA STATE FOR ANY FUNDS RETURNED TO THE BANK OR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ON THEIR BEHALF. Students may submit a written appeal for a refund to the school’s Business Services office for extenuating circumstances surrounding their withdrawal from school. For more information about the College’s refund policy, please see the “Refunds” section of the College catalog.
Worksheets used to determine the amount of a refund or return of Title IV aid are available upon request in the Financial Aid office, as well as examples of how the policy is applied.
State Funded Financial Aid Programs
Tennessee Lottery Scholarships and Grants
The Tennessee Lottery Scholarships are provided through the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program. The student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The results are sent to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) to determine eligibility. Processing deadlines for these scholarships are September 1 for the fall semester and February 1 for the spring semester.
There are several types of Lottery Scholarships available. Following is a list of the different types and basic eligibility requirements.
HOPE Scholarship - Tennessee resident one (1) year prior to application deadline; must be admitted to and enroll in at least 6 hours within 16 months of graduation from an eligible high school, home school or GED program; minimum 21 ACT (Composite)/980 SAT on a national test date OR 3.0 final weighted GPA for entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2 or 3 private high schools; GED students must have the minimum ACT/SAT test scores as stated above AND meet additional eligibility requirements.
General Assembly Merit Scholarship (GAMS) - This is a supplement to the HOPE Scholarship; students may receive either Aspire Award or GAMS, but not both; minimum 29 ACT (Composite)/1280 SAT on national test date and 3.75 final weighted GPA for entering freshmen graduating from eligible public or category 1, 2, or 3 private high schools.
Aspire Award - This is a supplement to the HOPE Scholarship; students must be HOPE eligible; students may receive either Aspire Award or GAMS, but not both; parents’ or independent students’ (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must be $36,000 or less on IRS tax form.
HOPE Access Grant - Tennessee resident one (1) year prior to application deadline; must be admitted to and enroll in at least 6 hours within 16 months of graduation from an eligible high school; must have an 18-20 ACT (Composite)/860-970 SAT on a national test date and 2.75-2.99 final weighted GPA for entering freshmen and parents’ or independent student’s (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must be $36,000 or less on IRS tax form.
HOPE Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students - Tennessee resident one (1) year prior to application submission; minimum 25 years of age and student’s (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income must be $36,000 or less on IRS tax form and must enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution as an entering freshman or have not been enrolled for at least two (2) years after last attending any postsecondary institution and have not earned a baccalaureate degree; “must earn their way into” the HOPE scholarship program by attempting 12 hours on their own (continuously enrolled every fall and spring semester and maintain satisfactory academic progress) and achieve a minimum 2.75 GPA.
HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant - Students must be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship or HOPE access Grant; students who were in the custody of the Department of Children’s Services for at least one year after their 14th birthday.
Tennessee Student Assistance Awards - These grants are made available to Tennessee residents who are attending a Tennessee college/university, Pell Grant eligible, and U.S. citizens. These grants are based on financial need but funds are limited. The priority deadline for fall semester is March 1.
For further information and eligibility requirements regarding the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program or Tennessee Student Assistance Awards, please contact the Financial Aid office.
Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant - To participate in the Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant program, a student must meet the College’s admissions criteria for Dual Enrollment and be enrolled for college courses leading toward a degree for which they also earn high school credit. A student must also be a Tennessee resident, as defined by Chapter 0240-2-2, Classifying Students In-State and Out-of-State, as promulgated by the Board of Regents, for one year from the date of required grant submission which is September 1 for the fall semester, February 1 for the spring semester, and May 1 for the summer semester. The grant shall not be utilized for college-level course of study that does not meet high school requirements for graduation. For continued participation, a student must maintain a 2.75 cumulative college grade point average that shall be certified by an Enrollment Services representative each semester. Once the courses and minimum cumulative grade point average are certified, a representative of the Business Services office shall process the award. College courses taken under the restrictions of this grant do not count towards the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship college GPA and the attempted credit hours limitation.
For more information contact the assistant director of Admissions.
Institutional Funded Financial Aid Programs
Institutional Work - This program is designed to assist students who do not qualify for Federal College Work Study. Eligibility and available funds determines the number of hours per week a student may work. To be eligible for this program, a student must have a completed FAFSA on file and be in good academic standing. Students are paid an hourly rate (determined each year). Institutional work payroll is processed monthly. Timesheets are due in the Financial Aid office by the 15th of each month. Funds will be directly deposited into your bank account on the last working day of each month. Applications are available in the Financial Aid office or by going to the Columbia State financial aid Web site. All institutional work students are expected to work in accordance with the schedule set by their supervisor. Failure to perform suitable work will result in loss of employment.
Scholarships - Columbia State Community College offers a variety of institutional, foundation and private scholarships through the generosity of the college community. Many scholarships are available to assist deserving students in obtaining their educational goals. Generally, the criteria for awarding scholarships are based on academic ability or financial need.
To be considered for a Columbia State scholarship a student must:
- Have made application to Columbia State Community College.
- Have a complete FAFSA on file for need based scholarships.
- Have scholarship application turned in to the Financial Aid office by March 15.
- Graduating seniors must have academic portion of the scholarship application completed by a high school guidance counselor and returned to the Financial Aid office by March 15.
The following scholarships are offered to students who demonstrate academic achievement, exceptional talent, or financial need. These scholarships are awarded by the College Financial Aid Scholarship Committee in the spring of each award year. Complete applications must be submitted to the Financial Aid office by March 15.
Academic Service Scholarships - Authorized by the Tennessee Board of Regents, these scholarships pay the tuition for full-time students per academic semester. Residents of Tennessee who are recent graduates of a Tennessee high school may apply. Applications must be submitted to the Financial Aid office by March 15. The scholarships are not applicable for the summer term.
Academic Service Scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholastic achievement. Students with a minimum high school grade point average of 2.9 or the equivalent, and an ACT composite score of 19 are eligible to apply. Recipients of academic service scholarships are required to work 75 hours each semester on campus.
Academic Service Scholarships are not automatically renewed. Recipients must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 each semester. Failure to maintain the required GPA or a satisfactory standard of conduct, or failure to fulfill the required work obligation will result in the automatic forfeiture of the scholarship.
Opportunity Scholarships - The purpose of the Opportunity Scholarship is to provide opportunity for disadvantaged students and enhance institutional diversity. Scholarships will be awarded to cover tuition and mandatory fees for a limited number of part-time and full-time students based on the availability of funds. The scholarship is renewable contingent upon maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA for each semester attended.
Foundation Scholarships - These private scholarships, available through the Columbia State Foundation, are made possible through the generosity of individuals, businesses and organizations.
Persons interested in establishing a scholarship or supporting the College’s educational endeavors are encouraged to contact the executive director of the Columbia State Foundation at (931) 540-2512.
Private Scholarships - Recipients for these scholarships are determined by the organization. Examples are churches, places of employment and some civic organizations. Contact should be made directly with those organizations for information.
Athletic Scholarships - These scholarships are available to students who qualify to participate in intercollegiate athletics. These scholarships vary in amounts and eligibility is determined by the Athletic Department.
Additional Financial Aid Information
Reporting Aid Received From Sources Other Than Columbia State
Students who receive outside aid such as loans, grants, or scholarships from private organizations or governmental agencies must report the source and amount of outside financial assistance. Federal regulations require the Financial Aid office to adjust a student’s award package as to not exceed students’ need. Students who knowingly withhold such information from the Financial Aid office are subject to termination of their financial aid and repayment of any excess aid back to the federal government.
In an effort to curb abuse and fraud with the federal aid programs and to ensure funds are being awarded to truly needy students, the federal government randomly selects students for a process called verification. If selected for verification, the Financial Aid office is required to request documents to substantiate information on the student’s FAFSA. Items subject to verification include but are not limited to adjusted gross income, social security benefits, veteran’s benefits, nontaxable income, interest income, asset amounts, number in household, and number in post-secondary institutions.
If selected, certain documents such as copies of student/spouse or student/parents’ signed federal tax forms, w2’s and verification worksheet will be requested. Students selected for verification must complete all required procedures by the end of the academic year or end of their enrollment period or by June 30, whichever comes first. No financial aid funds will be disbursed until all verification requirements have been met.
Selective Service Registration is required to receive Title IV federal aid funds. Any student who is required to register with Selective Service and fails to do so will be ineligible for student financial aid provided through programs established under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.
If a family’s financial circumstances change due to death, disability, long term unemployment, and/or excessive medical or dental expenses, the student may become eligible for more financial assistance. Students must contact the director of financial aid to see if they quality.
Dependent students who do not live with parents due to extenuating circumstances may qualify as an independent student. Students must contact the director of financial aid to see if they qualify.
Awarding of Financial Aid
Student financial aid awards vary depending upon the student’s eligibility and financial need. The process of packaging the different forms of financial aid is based on the total need analysis and aid determination cycle. The entire financial aid program has been developed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all financial aid students.
Payment of Awards and Refunds
Financial aid disbursements are credited to the student’s account generally during the fourth week of classes and refund dates are posted each semester on the financial aid Web site.
Institutional Fees and Refunds
See “Institutional Fees and Refunds” section of the catalog.
Financial Aid is not available for students who:
- Are pursuing a short-term or institutional certificate (less than 24 credit hours).
- Are Non-degree seeking.
- Are auditing classes.
- Are undergraduate special students.
- Are adult special students.
- Are transient students.
Student Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
As a student financial aid consumer, you have the right to:
- Be informed about financial aid application procedures, cost of attendance, aid available and renewal requirements. Additional consumer information is available from the Financial Aid office upon request.
- Receive confidential protection of your financial aid records. The contents of your financial aid file are maintained in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Additional information is available in the Student Handbook.
- Seek and receive full information and counsel from the director of financial aid in regard to any financial aid matter.
As a student financial aid consumer, you have the responsibility to:
- Complete applications correctly and on time.
- Read and understand all materials sent to you from the Financial Aid office and other financial aid agencies; keep copies of all forms and materials submitted.
- Know and comply with the rules governing your aid programs.
- Comply with the provisions of any promissory note and all other agreements you sign.
- Register for the number of credit hours required and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Report any of the following changes: withdrawal from college; transfer to another college; name change; student address change or parents address change.
- Request personal assistance if you have questions or do not understand the information provided to you.
Due to federal regulations pertaining to the Federal Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, all currently enrolled students at Columbia State and perspective students have access to information regarding campus security, financial assistance, certain institutional information including our graduation rate and students under FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Additional information is available in the student handbook or can be obtained from the Student Services office.
How to Contact the Financial Aid Office
If you have questions or need assistance in applying for financial aid, please contact us: Financial Aid office, Jones Student Center Room 101 or by phone (931) 540-8267 or by emailing email@example.com.